Position Opening: School-Year Youth Programs – Volunteer or Intern
Volunteers and Interns commit to attending one or more days of the week, ideally from September to May, at either or both of these programs:
Click the links above for dates.
Our session is preceded by a Staff Training day on September 15. (If you are unable to attend the training, please go ahead and apply and we can discuss it.)
About the positions:
The Volunteer role is unpaid, and might be a good fit if you are:
- A teen who until recently has attended VWS (or similar) youth programs as a camper/participant and now feel ready to try on a new role supporting younger children.
- A teen who is entirely new to nature-based programming and would like to check it out.
- A teen looking to satisfy a community service requirement for school.
- An adult curious about nature connection education programs and wanting to learn more.
- An adult looking to support Vermont Wilderness School programs by offering the gift of your time and presence.
The Intern role is for teens and adults seeking to develop your leadership skills and work experience. This role has significantly more responsibilities and expectations than the volunteer role. Interns may receive a stipend, amount to be determined based on experience and responsibilities.
Each Volunteer and Intern will be matched with a group of youth (typically 10-12 children), led by a Lead Instructor and an Assistant Instructor. You’ll show up for every day of any weeks you’ve committed to— barring emergencies & pre-agreed absences— and be outdoors for 6 hrs (4 hrs in the case of Foxwalk Forest School), helping as the group wanders, learns, plays, challenges themselves, and more.
Qualifications we’re looking for:
- Age 13 or older
- Loves being with children
- Takes initiative
- Enjoys outdoor activity in many weather conditions
- Wants to learn and possibly eventually lead nature-based games and outdoor skills/activities
- Is attentive to group management
- Wants to build leadership/mentoring capacities
- Is excited to have fun with us!
What this role offers:
- Experience. You’ll be learning from skilled instructors and observing nature connection mentoring programs that have been running in southern Vermont for the past 22 years.
- Insight. Morning staff meeting and end-of-day staff debrief provide a glimpse of how the educational experience is designed, and how instructors attend to issues, concerns, or opportunities that are arising.
- Feedback. You’ll learn about yourself by hearing from staff members what they see as your gifts and your growing edges.
- Training. In addition to the September staff orientation day, you’ll be invited to any other staff trainings and learning opportunities.
Key Areas of Responsibility:
- Cultivate an awareness of safety, and immediately bring issues to a Lead or Assistant Instructor’s attention.
- Demonstrate self-sufficiency; keep yourself fed/ bathroomed/ hydrated, and balance self-advocacy with being an enthusiastic participant in the group.
- Be a helpful presence & set a good example:
- Be engaged – show up fully present.
- Ask good questions – don’t answer for the kids.
- Model good attitudes – listening, gear maintenance, respectful communication.
- Connect with kids – stragglers, chatterers.
- Facilitate some games & activities in consultation with your Lead Instructor
- Assist your Instructors with manual labor
- Pay attention to each child’s uniqueness and to group dynamics; be ready to share insights in daily staff debrief meeting.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. However we encourage interested individuals to apply as soon as possible, and we anticipate that most openings will be filled by Aug 30.
More about who we are:
The Vermont Wilderness School envisions a world where every person and every community is able to cultivate a deep connection with the natural world. We believe this will only be possible alongside the replacement of systems of colonization, oppression, and extraction with new systems of equity, justice, and regeneration. Our vision and values are reflected in our employment-related decisions, including hiring practices. VWS actively seeks to employ a diverse staff. We invite you to bring your own unique perspective, culture, and identities if you join us in this work.
As an EOE/AA employer, VWS will not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, genetic information, veteran or disability status, or any other factor prohibited by law.